REFLECTION: Cultivating leaders PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 February 2015 11:56



Let’s give due attention to this need of raising and training leaders. We cannot and should not take this for granted. We should not think that leaders would just come out of the blue, whether we like or not, whether we do something about it or not. We have to look for them, those with potentials, and train and form them to be such.

While it’s true that God’s grace can make leaders out of the commonest of persons, it’s also true that grace requires human cooperation not only from those directly called to be leaders but also from all of us who in varying degrees are involved in raising and training leaders.

Yes, St. Paul once said that God often chooses the weak, the foolish and base things of the world to confound the strong, the wise and the proud. Or if we want to be more graphic, God can, as the Bible says, lift up the poor from the dunghill so he can sit with princes. (cfr 1 Sam 2,8)

Just the same, these divine affirmations do not preclude the necessity for some leadership training to be done by us. Christ himself, insofar as he is man, submitted himself to the rearing and care of Mary and Joseph to become later on the supreme servant-leader of God’s people tasked for the salvation of mankind.

He had the reputation of “doing all things well” (bene omnia fecit), and this must be due to a large extent to the formation Mary and Joseph must gave him in his formative years as a kid.

We need to be more aware of this concern. We cannot be oblivious to the increasingly obvious fact that more and more people, the youngsters especially, seem to refuse to grow to maturity, assuming more responsibilities, and to become good, effective leaders.

There seems to be an epidemic of what may be called as the Peter Pan syndrome, a condition that restrains people to grow up. They prefer to stay young, carefree, capricious, irresponsible. They prefer to simply follow what is convenient and advantageous to them, taken in a self-centered way.

Yes, it’s true that our age has produced, thanks be to God, great inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the fields of politics, culture, academics, etc. But we can also say that a tremendous number of people are wasting precious talents and gifts in idleness or misusing them in varied selfish and often harmful pursuits.

We have to alert the basic social and educational units, namely the family first, and then the schools, and then onward in the ascending social and educational hierarchy, to pay special attention to this concern, and to equip them with the relevant skills.

It cannot be denied that many parents and teachers nowadays are getting below par in carrying out their duties. This is also a very worrying concern that needs to be promptly addressed.

Though for sure a lot of details and items have to be tackled in the often long and winding process of formation, those in charge of these social and formative units should not get lost as to what is the essential purpose of their educational task.

It would be good that early on, the different potentials of children are recognized and given their proper plan of development. We have to consider their character and temperaments, their talents and aptitude, and know where to place them where they can be at their best condition.

Leadership can take many forms. There’s a type of leader who goes in front of a group, another who walks beside or behind the group. There’s the innovative and creative type, and also the inspiring one.

In all types, there should be an easily recognizable amount of competence in the field involved, a certain vision and a self-propelling motivation. A good leader is also one who knows how to follow, for he needs to read the signs of the times, to discern the needs of the people and the common good.

Obviously, a good leader would realize that he needs God to be one, for only in God would he be able to serve both God and man properly. Only in God would he have the necessary wisdom, knowledge and strength to lead.

Remember St. Paul saying, “I can do all things in him (God) who strengthens me.” (Phil 4,13) Being with God and acquiring all the human skills of leadership are not incompatible. In fact, they mutually need each other.

So, a good leader is first of all a man of God, before he can be a man for others.